To answer Mark Jackson's question about the little red haired lady
at the dart booth in the fun zone, Her name was Catherin Kraner.
We called her "Maggie". I worked for her and her husband Floyd
Kraner from the mid 1950s thru the early 1960s. They had a son
named Ken who also worked at the Fun Zone on occasion. The Kraners
ran the dart booth and the rag doll booth next door. They also
acquired the milk bottle concession, then the ring toss on the
coke bottle, then the break the records with a baseball booth at
the end of the fun zone by Palm St.(the auto ferry street) Maggie
was a sweet, wonderful lady and a pleasure to work for. We call
her husband "Kranky Kraner". They ran a honest, be it games of
chance, business, and gave people a fair chance to win a "teddy
bear" or other stuffed animal. I remember a night when Frank
Sinatra and friends, including Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner,
came to the Fun Zone and "old blue eyes" threw a $100.00 bill on
the counter and said, let my friends have some fun. We made sure
they all walk away with a stuffed animal. That was a night to
remember. A good night at one of the booths back then was making
over $100.00, and we did it with one customer.
Another great time was when the aircraft carrier, S.S. Hornet
anchored off the jetty over Labor Day weekend. The town was loaded
with sailors, and we stayed open past our regular midnight closing
time until the sailors left with their winnings around 2 AM.
Maggie Kraner loved to see the smiles on young children, so even
the ones that didn't win a prize, she would give them a fold out
fan or one of those finger stick-together toys. I'm not sure when
the Kraners left the fun zone, but many people had great times
winning and playing at Kraners Concessions.
In the summer of 1936 I worked at McNally's Boat Rental just west
of the Pavilion. At $.25 an hour it was okay but not full time.
I then went to work upstairs in the Pavilion at Sportland, run by
Bud and Frieda Smith. Now at $.50 an hour. Sportland offered
Archery, ping pong, Badminton, duck pins and ski -ball. One night
I was offered a job to help a girl run the archery concession at
the Fun Zone. the wage was $2.00 an hour!!! Wow, I asked Bud if he
minded if I left and he agreed it sounded great. So I show up on
Friday night and it was great up til about 11pm. Then as we were
at the target pulling arrows, the drunks from the Dance Hall began
to shoot arrows around us. I worked one more night and went
crawling back to the tall stairs where the drunks seldom bothered
George 'Bud' Barnett
Hey Jim I found some interesting photos of Balboa on eBay under
"Balboa" you might get a kick out of. I tried to send them
directly to you but they won't send to a web page
address........so. Look at the 1940 photo "boating on Balboa bay"
you'll love it.
When I was five, I walked to kindergarten, Newport Elementary.
Many of the people I went to school with haven't left Newport. We
lived a few houses from the Newport Pier when my dad was still
doing residency to become a physician. He ended up working at Hoag
for over 40 years. We moved to Balboa when I was 7. I spent my
entire childhood in Balboa and remember the first boat ride in the
Fun Zone when I was 5. We spent time getting goodies at the Balboa
Bakery, Hoagies, and shopping at Gunderson's Drug and Bay
Department Store. My sisters and I went to Donaldson's to visit
Helen and Joe (the two females who worked there). We spent time at
The Bank of America was on Balboa Blvd. My Dad's first medical
office was on 9th and Balboa Blvd. There were three really tall
palm trees there at the time too. It became a hotel or something
later on. The Balboa theater was wonderful, and so close.
I learned to swim at the Coast Guard Beach (channel rd.) and
waited for the ice cream truck daily during the summer while not
hanging out at the Wedge. Bruce Brown would come and film the body
Tim Morgan was great, and Dick Dale was happening. I got an email
from Dick recently. That was great. There are so many wonderful
memories of Balboa. Not to mention that we used to let our dog go
with us anywhere in Bal...no tickets, no rules...just a lot of fun
with no headaches.
I'm sure I'll come up with more memories, but I'm running out of
space. I miss all the people I went to Horace Ensign with, and
Harbor High. Hope to see them at a reunion. I hope before we all
Thank you Jim for letting me do the cartoons for your website.
For More London's Times
Men are like fine wine.. They start out as grapes, and
it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until
they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.
On The Fun Zone Boardwalk
2nd Wednesday of the Month
Book Club Luncheon 2 PM
Saturdays 3:30 PM -
Live Reggae Music
Free Admission (21+)
June 12 thru August 28
Annual Flag Lowering Ceremony
Patriotic Music, Taps, Canon Salute.
Balboa Boat Rentals
By the Balboa Island Ferry Landing
Thursdays 6 pm to
July 1 - August 12
Concerts on the Peninsula
Peninsula Park Gazebo
Saturday, July 31
Thursday August 12, 2am
2004 Perseid Meteor Shower
December 15 - 19
Christmas Boat Parade
Chester The Molester
Chester Washburn was a homeless alcoholic derelict who
took up residence on the roof of Snug Harbor, a food and
drink establishment located near the east end of the
Balboa Peninsula. Everyone called him Chester the
Molester. No one knew why, they just did.
Chester was always hanging around the bar waiting for
someone to buy him a drink. One day in 1990 Mike the
bartender told Chester, " Quit mooching drinks, go get
some money." To which Chester replied, "I'll go rob a
bank." Chester went over to the pool table and started
writing a holdup note on the back of a napkin. Charlie
Brown recalls Chester couldn't spell worth beans, and he
kept asking Charlie how to spell different words. Of
course no really believed Chester would actually rob a
Upon finishing the note, Chester hopped on his bike and
rode off. He went to Imperial Savings and Loan located in
Lido Village near the end of the peninsula, walked in with
the holdup note and using his one-inch key-chain penknife
as a weapon held the place up, walking out with $2,000.00
in a paper bag. Chester then went back to Snug Harbor.
Leaving most of the money in the bike's basket, he went in
and bought a round of drinks for everyone. Moments later
ten police cars pulled up and Chester was placed under
Chester was told that if he would admit he was an
alcoholic and go into treatment he would have the charges
against him reduced. Chester flat refused the offer and
wound up serving five-years in prison.
Jim: I applaud your decision to get rid of Your 2 cents
worth. I must admit that I was addicted to reading it
although at the same time I was repulsed by the low
quality of the discourse. Keep up the good work and good
luck with the "pimple".
I am a long time resident of Balboa/Newport Beach. I am
trying to get some historical information about the Girl
Scout House on Balboa Blvd. If you have any information
please email me asap. I need it by Thurs. the 20th.
Thanks for your help!
i used to visit Newport with a boy named Sean. He loves
Newport....currently my life is hell and that is that;)
Hello, I am Bub van der Meer, and we visit our friends the
living in Newport Beach. In Okt and Nov. 2004.I look every
day your site. this nice.
Greetings from Holland.
Bub van der Meer
Thanks a million, Jim. I am just discovering your
wonderful photography, what a nice surprise and all,
Hi Jim, Saw your photos today in real life by the
pavilion, and absolutely loved them. You really capture
emotion in them by how the light is cast. so nice.
Have to tell you, you are more handsome in real life than
in your photo.
Susan in Utah
I currently live in Denver but spent my younger years in
OC. I visit there every 3 or 4 months just to sit and
enjoy the atmosphere of Newport and Balboa. I found your
website purely by accident and it has been THE BEST find
since I discovered the web. Keep it up you make me
appreciate the area that much more.